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Caring for each other during COVID-19

Uncertain times are never easy, so we’re reaching out to you, and all Council of Canadians supporters, to share our thoughts at this time. Our history as Canadians shows time and again how together we can meet adversity. We have shared with neighbours and with complete strangers, protected the vulnerable, and sheltered those without a home. During the present COVID19 health crisis, every one of us will be challenged to be the best that we can – generous, thoughtful and selfless.

The Council of Canadians believes in the power of collective action, that we are stronger together. It is hard to reconcile this deep commitment to the collective with the idea of social distancing, and the knowledge that being physically apart is what is needed while we battle a global pandemic. 

We are all called upon to be courageous in our own way – to reach out and build social solidarity while adhering to a critical new concept of social separation. But instead of retreating into ourselves, can we imagine finding new ways to build community? Can each of us check in with family, friends and neighbours to ensure no one is left alone? We must also express our heartfelt appreciation to all front-line workers who keep our society healthy and functioning in these difficult times. 

In some ways, the world is a much smaller place than it ever has been. We can access information from around the globe and that helps us to see ourselves as a large family all facing the same threat. Our common humanity calls to our better nature. 

The Council of Canadians was founded to maintain and protect the things we hold in common. Built on a foundation of public services and public assets, the concept of “the commons” signifies much more – a shared social purpose as well. We are guided by the wisdom of past generations who created a social safety net as well as the universal system of healthcare which we all rely on today. In these difficult times we must safeguard the commons and celebrate it.

Now is the time for all governments and peoples to work within and across borders to fight a common threat. Our collective response to this pandemic can help us find kinder and more thoughtful solutions to combat the terrible polarization that has taken root in so many countries. We need to see this as a moment to come together to reclaim the common good, to re-commit to comprehensive public health care and income security for all, and to assert our interdependence nationally and internationally. 

There will be many political decisions to make in the coming days and months. But for now, we hope that all of you can stay safe, take time to care for your loved ones, and find the opportunity to help others in your community who need support.

John Cartwright

Maude Barlow
Honorary Chairperson

Molly Kane
Executive Director